The $24.25 million Centre of Excellence in the History of the Emotions, a major collaboration of Australian and international researchers - hosted by The University of Western Australia - has been officially opened.
UWA historian, Winthrop Professor Philippa Maddern of the School of Humanities is the director of the Centre which has attracted the biggest humanities grant ever made by the Australian Research Council.
Professor Maddern said: "The Centre addresses the big question of how societies think, feel and function. Emotions shape our mental, physical and social well-being."
"Our research will illuminate this crucial aspect of Australia's cultural and social heritage, and invigorate Australian culture through major reflective performances in drama, opera and art.
"By addressing the big question of how societies think, feel and function, it will provide greatly enhanced understandings of how to improve emotional health among modern Australians. It will train and mentor a new generation of young Australian researchers and heighten Australia's international reputation for excellence in humanities and performing arts research," Professor Maddern said.
Professor Alan Robson, UWA Vice-Chancellor, said the Centre's many national and international collaborations would enable it to conduct world-class research with extensive access to leading cultural and performing arts organisations.
"The location of the Centre at UWA is recognition of the international standard of research being conducted at the University and will assist UWA in its goal of becoming one of the top 50 universities in the world by 2050," Professor Robson said.
The Centre will conduct interdisciplinary research collaboration in the humanities and creative arts to account for the long-term changes and continuities in emotional regimes in Europe from 1100 to 1800 and explore how this heritage underpins the culture of modern Australia.
The Centre has nodes at the University of Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland and Sydney. It has links with key cultural industry partners including the ABC, West Australian Opera and the National Gallery of Victoria. The Centre's international partner universities include Université de Fribourg, Switzerland, Freie Universität, Berlin, Umea University, Sweden, University of Newcastle, UK, and Queen Mary College, London.
The opening coincides with the Centre's first conference Emotions in the Medieval and Early Modern World. This conference is hosted in collaboration with the Perth Medieval and Renaisance Group, and the UWA Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies.